Print Version    Email to Friend
Keep your eye on the line

Although no longer seen too much in Hong Kong, ploughing the land is a vital part of keeping our food supply chain in place.

People born and brought up on the land understand the need to plough in straight lines, but their cousins from the big cities may not understand the need to be so particular.

A story tells us about a brother and sister who were concentrating on keeping their lines straight, when friends from the city arrived and, in their haste to get off and have a good time, lost their concentration.

Although, the job was finished in record time and a good time was had by all after the party started, the good times were over when their father saw the mish mash of criss-cross furrows in his field.

The father called his two children to come and look at the field and pointed to the exact hour the city folks had arrived. The father announced that come harvest, he was sure they would have serious wheat and fun wheat, which he thought should make for interesting bread.

He called it bread that would make good sandwiches for funerals and excellent fairy bread for birthday parties.

The readings in today’s liturgy refer to both ploughing and fidelity to God. Ploughing takes concentration, but it also provides a future and food for the family and the whole community.

The gospels contain a number of references to grain, crops, harvesting and fieldwork. At the time of Jesus, a good crop was essential to every family.

So to abandon a field in favour of following God was a big ask. It was not just the field that was abandoned, but the family. Jesus needs to make sure that the people who follow him are sure about what they are forgoing and determined in their path.

It is extremely hard to redo furrows, especially if the direction is a bit like a dog’s breakfast. So once any of us have put our hand to the plough, we need to be determined how best to follow Jesus, so that even if our friends turn up to party, we need to know and understand our direction and stay on course.

On July 3, we celebrate the feast day of St. Thomas, also called Doubting Thomas. He was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. Traditionally, he is said to have travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the gospel, travelling as far as India.

According to tradition, St. Thomas reached India in 52AD and baptised several people who are today known as St. Thomas Christians. He met his death from a spear, but his relics have been enshrined as far away as Mesopotamia in the third century. Some were later moved to Ortona, Italy, in 1258, where they are kept in the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.

“If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence” (Galatians 5:16).



        l Diocese of  Sandhurst